Listing Your Home in the Fall!

by seacoast_ashley 9. October 2015 05:20

Listing Your Home in the Fall!

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I’m not sure how many times I have heard a friend or family member bemoan that they would have to wait until spring to put their homes on the market. Sure, spring is the most popular time to buy and sell real estate, but did you know that the fall selling season comes in a close second? Sometimes, depending on your situation, it might be the best time for you to sell you home.


There is nothing more cozy and memory provoking than a fire in the fireplace, the smell of cinnamon and spice in the kitchen, and a jack-o-lantern perched on the front porch. Fall is a great time for sellers to capitalize on this feeling of home that buyers often respond to on an emotional level. It is a lot easier for a buyer to “fall in love” with a home when that home evokes good memories. The colors of fall create an amazing natural background as well. Step into a yard that is crisp and clean and ablaze in the vibrant colors of fall and it is hard to not feel optimistic and inspired. We are lucky, that our area has mild weather. Fall at the beach is actually my favorite time of year! The crowds have thinned, the humidity is low, and neighbors are reconnecting after summers away.


One big motivation for buyers in the fall is the upcoming holiday season. Most buyers prefer to be in their new home in time to host family and friends over the following months. Often times this drive can lead to a quicker than usual sale. The holidays aren’t the only reason fall is on the buyer radar. Many buyers are seeking the tax deductions and breaks that come with buying a home, and need to be closed by the end of the year to benefit quickly.


Not only has the market changed over time, but the kind of Buyers entering the market have changed as well. Many people are choosing to enter the real estate market later in life as first time home-buyers and baby boomers are moving into the homes that they are retiring in. Because school selection is less important to these kinds of Buyers, the thinking that once the school year starts buyers don’t buy, just doesn’t hold true in these cases.  The buyers entering the market in the fall that are concerned with school districts are often moving as the result of new employment, and are laser focused.


Possibly one of the biggest benefits to selling in the fall is the lower inventory that one would find in the spring months. Less inventory means less competition for the seller. Because of the rapidly growing online tools and apps available to buyers, many buyers are starting their searches online. When they make the appointment to view your home they have most likely already seen the house online and are aware of the basics. The use of these technologies have resulted in a more serious buyer.


If you have been waiting for spring to come, you might want to give listing in the fall another look. I encourage you to speak with a real estate professional to determine if fall might be your best bet for selling your home quickly. The most important part of a smooth and successful real estate transaction is having an agent that can help you price appropriately and has a deep knowledge of the market in your area. We have hundreds of agents that fit this bill. Let our agents show you the benefit of listing in the fall!


To speak with one of our many talented agents please visit

 

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Selling Your Home: Part Six - The Closing

by seacoast_ashley 13. July 2015 03:35

 

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I was not as smiley as this woman on the side of our UHaul


After packing every square inch of our home, minus the living room curtains (you can read more about this in last week’s blog) we were ready to scrub. My family and I had loved our home and we wanted the new buyers to walk in and love it too.

Luckily, I had the help of my super awesome parents. Everyday for the last week in my home, my mother and I would drop my kids off at a drop-in daycare. We would clean the inside of the house while my father worked on the outside. We had so much stuff crammed into every available space that no less than 10 trips were made to local charities to make donations.


The week was looooong. I had prepared myself to cry from sun up to sun down. I had previously imagined that each piece of artwork coming off the wall, and each memory inducing wall scrape touched up, and each totally empty room would result in an ocean of tears. This was not the case!  The massive amount of work that it took to get the house completely empty and clean made me ready to get out.


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Little things like this set the tears flowing!


The tear-free me lasted until the morning of closing. I woke up early and attempted to make a video of each room so that our kids would be able to remember what the house was like when they were small. This was when the floodgates opened. I could remember memories so clearly in that empty house. I remembered every holiday photo, every scraped knee, and every birthday party. I knew that the new owners would be walking into the house, their house, in just a few short hours. With a couple of deep breaths and spoken thank-yous to the house, I slipped a bottle of champagne into the fridge, and walked out for the last time.


Oftentimes (almost everytime) buyers have the chance to do one final walk-through of the home. This usually takes place on the morning of the closing. I was informed by my realtor that I could be there for the walk-through or not. I chose not to attend. I knew that I would be sad seeing someone critique or make plans of changing what had been mine for so many years. I also wanted the new buyers to be relaxed and excited. I wanted them to “bond” with their new home.


Driving out of our neighborhood was rough, but somewhere between the neighborhood and the lawyer’s office I had made peace with moving out. We did not see the buyers at the closing table. It is my understanding that in some cases the buyers and sellers are at the same table and literally hand over the keys after signing all of the legal paperwork. My appointment to sign was an hour before the buyers’ appointment. The actual closing was pretty anti-climatic.


My agent sat beside me and a lawyer sat in front of me. It was so nice to have the experienced eyes of my agent reviewing everything that the lawyer slid across the table. It was important too, because we found a $200 mistake! Papers were re-done, resigned, and before I knew it my house was no longer mine. The “buyers” were no longer the buyers, but were the “owners.”


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New beginnings, here we come!


Every hardship and minute of work seemed to vanish. The memories stayed. And, in the second that I signed my name on the last of what felt like 1000 pages, my family and I became homeless! The relief of selling our home has morphed into panic again as we search for a new house to make a home. We are in a constant state of looking, number-crunching, racing to open houses! Stay tuned for the upcoming series “What to Expect When Buying a Home”.


Did you feel relief, sadness, pure joy when officially selling your home? Do you have advice for me on buying? Please do-tell!

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If you are looking for guidance in the home buying/selling process:

http://www.seacoastrealty.com/

What to Expect When Listing Your House: Step Two: Preparing Your Home for Listing

by seacoast_ashley 4. June 2015 16:18

 

 

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If you read last week’s blog post then you already know the first step. If you missed it then you might want to back up and read Step One: Finding a Realtor. Ok, caught up? Perfect.


In an attempt to inform our clients, I am blogging my personal experience listing (selling) my home. As I mentioned in the last blog post, this is not my first experience. However,  it does carry much more weight. I now have 3 small children, a dog, and house bursting with a “lived- in” feel.


We are moving due to a job change. We knew that we had to list our home for sale just 4 weeks before my husband’s out-of-town job start date. This makes it important to try to sell the house as quickly as possible, because I will be staying in our current home with the aforementioned three kids and a dog until the house sells and we can find a home in our new location.

Before we signed with our Realtor we started the deep clean. We tried to fix any glaring problems with the house, but due to financial and time constraints there are a few things that could still use attention.


We explained to our realtor that we needed a quick sell and we couldn’t afford or have the time to do large amounts of work. His recommendation was to price aggressively.  By doing so, we are hoping that we will have more interest. We know that we will not end up walking away with a profit, but that is okay with us. We are simply looking to free up the money that we are paying towards our mortgage so that we can put that into a new home. For lots of people this strategy does not work. Often times, people are looking to make profit or at least make back some of the money that they have paid towards renovations, etc. This is something that you and your realtor will need to determine. Know your end goal.


After pricing our house our realtor made a few suggestions for inexpensive ways that we could prepare the house to go on the market. I had a $500 limit set on the work that we could/would do. His first suggestion was to enhance the curb appeal. We decided that almost all of the $500 would go to drawing buyers into our home from the outside. Step one was to paint the front porch. The porch was not in terrible shape, but fresh white paint had a huge impact. It makes the house look shiney and new. After paying for paint and supplies, we had about $400 left to spruce the place up.


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See how crisp that white looksjQuery15207700262633152306_1433533719477


I spent $100 on new planters in crisp white, 3 hanging baskets bursting with flowers, and lots of new plants for the area around our walkway. There is nothing that makes you want to take your home off the market more than driving up to your home a feeling like it is the best that it has ever looked! Be prepared to wish you could stay.


With the remaining $300 we plan on fixing a piece of cracked molding around our front door, replacing a rotted board on our back deck (and repainting it), changing out all of our light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs, and possibly repainting all of the interior trim work the same crisp white that made such a huge impact on the front porch. If there is money left over, I will be hiring a cleaning service to come in and scrub all of the nooks and crannies that I have neglected.


Once the house was clean and fresh and looking like the home of my dreams, our Realtor hired a house photographer. This is something that never happened with our previous listings, but it has already had a huge impact on the level of interest that we have had by buyers. The photos show the very best of our home. I would recommend that you have a professional photograph your home. It was fairly inexpensive (my realtor even provides the service free to his sellers) and really does make a world of difference. Today, most buyers start their search online. They want great visuals.

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These pics have driven tons of traffic to my home’s online profile!


One of my biggest obstacles has been decluttering this house. After many years and many children we look like an exploded toy shop. The method that worked (is working) for me, is to keep 2 baskets in my laundry room.


The first basket is for the things that may be scattered about, but that we can’t do without. I load this basket at the first request for a showing. It holds dog items (food, leash, bed), personal items we don’t want to leave laying about, and anything else that has found it’s way to the floor that I don’t have time to put in its specific place. The second basket holds things that need to leave the house for good. It is our “out” basket. The items that most often find their fate in this basket are toys that I noticed aren’t played with anymore, clothes that are too small, or items that we haven’t used in the past six months.


When we have a showing request the first thing I do is load those baskets into the car. I usually try to donate the “out” stuff while driving around killing time during the showing. The basket method has worked well so far. In the end, it will result in less packing for me!

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More decluttering to do, but with 3 kids this is pretty clean!


EVERYDAY (yes, all caps) we clean. Floors are vacuumed or swept (or mopped on a good day), all surfaces are wiped down, smudges are cleaned, dust is banished.The lawn is mowed on any pretty day. There are no toilets left opened, and no recycling items left on the counters.  It is an exhausting process, but at the end of the day we know that this will speed up the selling process. It will help us reach our end goal (and rest) so much faster!


What are the projects that you feel are most important to complete when listing your home? If you have sold a home before, did the cleaning and home improvements drive you batty? Share your methods!!


Watch out for Step Three of the home-selling process next week!


To share your ideas (and to help me sell!) join the conversation on our Facebook page

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To find an agent to guide you in the process visit

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What to Expect When Listing Your House to Sell: Step One: Picking Your Realtor

by seacoast_ashley 26. May 2015 05:07

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Listing one’s house for sale can be a taxing situation, or it can be a pretty easy one. Hopefully by educating yourself on what to expect you can take the stress out of one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life.


Step One: FIND A GOOD REALTOR. I can not stress enough the importance of this first step. After buying and selling quite a few homes in my life, this step has played the most important role in keeping the process rolling smoothly. There are many many factors that need to be considered when finding the right agent for you.


The last home that I listed created the most stressful situation that I had ever experienced. I made the age-old mistake of hiring my realtor based solely on the fact that this person was a close personal friend. There are a few major problems that can arise in a situation like mine. My realtor was not located in my city. This resulted in problems with her availability, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by questioning her lack of commitment or knowledge of our area. In the end, we ended up letting the listing expire, and basically messing up what was a perfectly good friendship.


From now on, I will be sticking with the, “no business with family or friends” rule. If you happen to have a really great friend or family member that is the world’s best realtor be sure to think long and hard about the various situations that could occur. Ask yourself is it worth it? If you really want to use your friend but don’t want to risk your friendship, you might ask for a referral to another agent. Most realtors love to give and receive referrals. There is usually some sort of compensation to the referring agent, so it is a nice way for you to help your friend without hurting your relationship.


That being said, many people love to work with someone that they already know. For some, it turns out to be an enjoyable situation that deepens a relationship, and can often result in a lifelong realtor. One of my close family members always uses her close friend in real estate transactions. They are able to be 100% honest with one another without feeling like either party is going to hurt the feelings of the other. Every friendship as well as every realtor/client relationship is different. Think about what works for you, and do not feel pressure to use a friend’s service just because they are a friend.


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After you have decided not to use a friend/family realtor, there are a couple of ways to find someone with whom you can work. In the age of the Internet, the easiest route is to begin your search online. I picked the realty company before I picked an actual agent. After poring over reviews of different agencies, I settled on the largest in my area. By doing so, I have access to more potential buyers. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and I loved the idea that my realtor may be around (and talking on a daily basis in the office) hundreds of different agents.


When the company was picked, I moved on to the actual realtor. I would suggest that you speak with a few different agents before settling on one. I spoke with three and found someone that I liked as person and that I also felt really was excited about my house. He presented me with his plan for “attack,” and it was just what I was looking for. I needed to move quickly and have someone that could be aggressive on the marketing front. Myself, being deeply involved in social media, had been witness to the power of social advertising. I knew I wanted someone who had a knack for giving properties a presence on the social scene.


There are many many more questions that you might consider asking your potential agent. You might like to know what his/her success rate is? What types of listings does he/she generally list? How well do they know the area? How and how often will they communicate with you? This list could go on and on. Depending on what type of person you are, it might be a short list of questions or it might be really long. Googling “What to ask a potential realtor,” gave me a good starting point.


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After signing the “Working with Realtors” and the “Exclusive Right to List” paperwork our official Realtor/Client relationship was born! There are so many more steps to listing your house. Please check back next week to find out Step Two! In the meantime, let me know how you chose your Realtor. Did you end up working with a friend or family member? Did you love it? Spill it - The good, the bad, and the ugly!


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